Retellings seem to be all the rage now and Strands of Bronze and Gold is a nice addition to this genre. I had never heard of the Bluebeard fairy tale, so I started reading this without a frame of reference. There are differing opinions on this matter – some readers will prefer to have some knowledge of the Bluebeard story while others may not. About halfway through the book, I had to satisfy my curiosity and I did look up the story. Having a little background knowledge helped me appreciate the book and its dark and gothic rendition of the story.The story begins as a teenaged Sophie leaves her home and family in Boston to live with her wealthy godfather in Mississippi. Bernard de Cressac has a vast estate and he provides Sophie with lavish gifts, clothing, jewelry – everything she could want or need. But all is not what it seems. Bernard has a penchant for red-headed ladies, and he isolates Sophie from her family and even from the local townspeople. In addition, the mansion is quite creepy and strange things happen. I enjoyed this story. The writing was lovely and the author gave a lot of attention to details such as the descriptions of the food and clothing of that time period. The author also integrated the themes of slavery and the underground railway into the narrative. A word of warning to pet lovers – there is a scene that may unsettle pet lovers. As the story does take place in the south when slavery was accepted, there are also some uncomfortable scenes as well. The pacing of the story was a little slow and there were parts that could have had a little more action. Sophie’s character was interesting. I think if you look at her from the context of her time period and upbringing, she is representative of that age. At first she was a naïve girl, but the longer she stayed at the estate, the more resourceful she became. I liked how she compared herself to Scheherazade, telling stories to Bernard to distract him from his seduction. Sophie was also able to develop covert relationships with people around her. When Sophie finally realizes Bernard’s true intentions, she is appalled, but plays along until she can find a way out.“If certain aspects of my life had come from the pages of a fairy tale, I had now entered between the covers of some lurid novel.”As a retelling of the Bluebeard fairy tale, Strands of Bronze and Gold is a dark gothic read. While the pacing of the story was a little uneven, I did enjoy this book and I can’t wait to see what other books this author has planned. If you are interested, the author’s website has some interesting background information as well as the Bluebeard fairy tale - here.Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for a review copy of this book.Review posted on Badass Book Reviews.